Meditation for You, Me & The World
To dedicate a time to sit and meditate is the yummiest thing we can do for ourselves and for the world. Although most people think meditation is “sitting like Buddha”, cross-legged with hands in gyan mudra and ommming away in blissfulness, it is so much more than that. A great teacher once told me that if I sit to meditate and float right away into the infinite then that practice isnt so successful. A successful meditation is moving through the busyness of one’s mind and clearing away the density of pointless thoughts, the ego. Learning to work with the ego and through its analytical nature so that then we may reach high into the vastness of consciousness is a successful meditation practice, clearing away the subconscious mind.
The mind is good at thinking about things, which is fantastic when you’re trying to schedule meetings, or plan a road trip. It’s doesn’t feel so great when you’re trying to meditate, right? 🙂 It’s amazing how easy it is to give full attention to the internet or tv, and how challenging it is to sit in thoughtlessness meditation for 15 minutes. Meditation masters and teachers have offered many tips and tricks to help us keep our focus when our mind starts to wander. Here are a few that have worked well for me along all these years.
Grab hold of the object of your meditation.
If you are doing mantra meditation, hold onto your mantra. If you are watching your breath, breathe more deeply. You may notice that when your mind starts to wander, your voice becomes softer or your breathing becomes more shallow. A good way to bring yourself back is to give your all to the object of your meditation.Give your attention. Chant with everything you got. Sing from your heart in a full voice, noticing the movements of your mouth and the sounds of the words. If you are focusing on your breath, feel the sensation as breath enters your body. Notice the way your chest and belly feel as it moves into your lungs. Really going for it will help you break the spell of daydreaming and return you to your meditation.
Posture Is Key.
Just as our breathing and our mantras diminish when we’re distracted, our body positions may do the same. Sometimes it’s just a subtle shift, perhaps a slight lowering of our hand position, your mudra, or a slight collapsing of our chest or ribcage. Bring your attention to your body. Feel your connection to the floor thats holding your body, notice the placement of your hands, and the lift of your chest, the straight line of your spine and the angle of your chin. Occasionally sweep your attention over your body and refine anything that seems to be fading. If you find that you’re beginning to doze away perhaps you can gaze at a point in front of you. Nothing specific just at eye level to assist your posture and focus. This is also known as Eye Gazing Meditation. its an excellent practice for posture.
Intention Delivers Commitment
Buddhists will often dedicate any merit accrued in their practice to the benefit of all beings. In other schools of meditation, it’s common to set an intention for your meditation practice. That intention could be something personal, a wish for another person, or a hope for the world. In my personal sadhana each morning, as I step onto my yoga mat to begin my practice I usually dedicate it to the children and animals of the world. Having an intention can be a powerful motivator to keep bringing you back to your commitment and away from mundane distractions. It can also be helpful to have a visual reminder of your intention in your meditation space, such as a photo or other meaningful object. Spending a moment looking at the object at the beginning and end of your practice can be quite powerful. However, during your practice, you want to keep your mind’s eye focused within and into the infinite.
Curiosity As A Tool.
Getting frustrated when you catch your mind wandering is normal. Our ego wants to “do it right” and the mind cannot stop thinking, analyzing, reasoning….etc. Beating yourself up is not the way to go about it; when suddenly you realize you’ve been making a grocery list instead of concentrating on your mantra or your breath simply bring your attention back to intention, to your breath. Acknowledge the mind,and without engaging it take the attitude of interest and curiosity at the way it works. Are there certain kinds of thoughts that are more likely to carry you away from your meditation? How does your body feel when you are carried away by thoughts vs being fully present? Stay focused on your breath or mantra during your meditation, and in awareness of these happenings. After you have finished you may have insights about the interactions with your selves during your practice of meditation that will help you refine your technique more and more.We learn something new each time.
The Power of Positive Thinking.
Thinking during your meditation practice is not a bad thing. The quality of thoughts is what matters, some thoughts are helpful and feed your practice while others may hinder it. Instead of battling yourself to “not think” or “stop thinking” remind yourself of what to think.This is where mantra comes in handy. Holding your focus on a mantra will keep your busy mind busy. Give your mind a job and you will stay present in the space of your intention, in your moment, in your now. Focus on the ebb and flow of your breath, on the sweet sound vibration of your mantra, on the serenity of the sounds of nature if you are outdoors,. Meditation is about being aware of the space you are in, the present moment, the reality of your existence in the now, the whole you. This i where your power is, from here you can achieve everything and anything you wish for your life and for the world. When we see the world as a peaceful, abundant and happy place, then it will be so. The power of our intention is strong enough to make it so.
I wish you a happy and blissful meditation practice!!